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COVID and your business

Margaret Goody, from Akyra Stategy and Development was part of our Breakfast Panel on the 24 Nov 2021 at Caboolture Sports Club, to discuss Business and Covid, this page gives you an overview of the HR components discussed.

Download the Akyra Strategy and Development Flyer with information on:

        • Lawful and reasonable directions
        • Recent Legal Developments
        • How to introduce a mandatory vaccination policy
        • Considerations for mandatory vaccination policies

What if your employees push back on what you, the employer, is asking them to do, in relation to coronavirus, e.g. Vaccination

It is recommended to consult your HR, Legal & WHS professionals prior to putting mandatory vaccination policy in place

It depends on whether it is a government mandate or direction, and whether it is a lawful and reasonable direction.

Employees sometimes seem to think it is their choice on whether they have to follow what you ask them to do, if it is lawful and reasonable they have to follow the directions issued by you, as their employer.

For it to be lawful and reasonable it needs to comply with any employment agreement award; commonwealth, state or territory law that applies, for example an anti-discrimination law; or a government directive.

As a result of COVID the government has issued a direction about tiers of work and tiers of employees. Note: these come into effect on 17 November 2021 and not before, it is only the borders that may open prior to 17 November 2021

– Tier 1 work, that’s where they are required as part of their duties, to interact with people with an increased risk of being infected with Coronavirus, employees must be vaccinated. e.g. employees working in hotel quarantine or border control.

A direction to vaccinate is more likely to be reasonable, as long a it complies with anti-discrimination laws.

– Tier 2 work is where employees are required to have close contact with people who are particularly vulnerable to the health impacts of coronavirus, employees must be vaccinated. e.g. employees working in health care or aged care.

A direction to vaccinate is more likely to be reasonable, as long a it complies with anti-discrimination laws

– Tier 3 work is where there is an interaction or likely interaction between employees and other people such as customers, other employees or the public in the normal course of employment. e.g. shops providing essential goods and services

A director to vaccinate is dependent on whether there is community transmission, view the COVID and your business flyer for more information

– Tier 4 work is where employees have minimal face-to-face interaction as part of their normal employment duties e.g. where they are working from home.

A direction to vaccinate would be unlikely to be reasonable given the limited risk of transmission

To view the QLD Government Vaccine Status Plan, on vaccine requirements for businesses, select link below.

How do you go about introducing a Vaccination policy?

You need to introduce a policy if vaccination is mandatory and, as a business owner, you might choose to introduce a policy to strongly recommend to your employees that they are vaccinated.

You need to consider:
– the Workplace Health and Safety obligations,
– the applicable public health directives,
– the essentiality of your business,
– potential business impacts of having an outbreak amongst your workforce,
– which employees will be covered by the policy,
– exemptions to the policy
– what will be done in circumstances of non compliance.

Recommend you draft a policy clearly outlining which roles need to have the vaccination, the basis for any exemption and any evidentiary documents need for proof of vaccination or exemption.
– ensure all affected employees are made aware of the policy
– ensure the consequences arising from failure to comply with a policy at clearly communicated
– prepared to handle instances of non compliance. So if you need to introduce a policy or you want to introduce a policy, one is you need to have that mandatory.

Mitigate any potential legal risks with emphasis on positive and facilitative messaging and decision making, rather than negative coercive messaging. Even if the vaccination is mandatory (which means consultation is not required), what consultation does is advise the workforce what you are planning/required to do and allows them to have a conversation with you, but the business makes the decision. Early announcement of policies and what will happen if the employees do not get vaccinated should be noted in employees files.

If vaccinations are required, a copy of their vaccination certificate should be filed in their employee file, which is in a locked cabinet.

Workplace Laws, Obligation and Entitlements

Workplace laws, obligations and entitlements for employers and employees, vaccination, awards changes covered by fairwork during this period. Note: this is the legal information, sometimes it is the interpretation of this for your business is where you may have questions, if so contact Akyra Strategy & Development 07 3204 8830

Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements Grant 

    • Subsidy of 50% of their wages for a 12 month period
    • Available between October 2020 and 31 March 2022.
    • You can still apply if your apprentice/trainee has already started and was employed after 01 October 2020 
    • If you are unable to meet your contractural obligations you can suspend those training contracts if you need to, just contact whoever you have the agreement with, or the department itself.